- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 30, 2009

Resurgent Republic

GOP veteran Ed Gillespie has a new project, a 501(c)(4) group called Resurgent Republic that is asking more Republicans to double-down on the very issue Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter said helped cement his decision to leave the party: spending.

The group released a poll Wednesday, the day of President Obama’s 100th day in office and a day after the Republican senator defected to the Democratic Party, that stated “Republicans are on favorable ground resisting the amount of spending, taxing and borrowing in the president’s proposed budget and will draw independents away from Mr. Obama’s camp by doing so.”

Mr. Specter said in his leave-taking announcement that his vote for the president’s $787 billion stimulus was a major factor in his decision to become a Democrat. “It has become clear to me that the stimulus vote caused a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable,” he said. Similarly, others have blamed the Republicans’ loss of the special election in New York’s 20th District on Jim Tedisco’s not strongly opposing the stimulus bill.

Mr. Gillespie said his polling reflected that most Republican and independent voters were especially resistant to increasing the budget and the national deficit. “The stimulus is exhibit A in that spending,” he said.

Flu semantics

President Obama did not call the “swine flu” by its common name Wednesday morning. He referred to the virus by its scientific name “H1N1” instead - a gesture surely appreciated by the pork industry whose sales have dropped since the pandemic began.

Others around the world are following suit.

A group of Brazilian pork producers have lobbied the World Health Organization to change the name of the “swine flu” to the “North American flu,” without success. Meanwhile, Israeli officials prefer the term “Mexican flu,” omitting swine from the name because pigs are not kosher.

And the European Union’s top health official came up with a novel term.

“Not to have a negative effect on our [pig] industry, we decided to call it ‘novel flu’ from now on,” European Union Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou told reporters in Brussels.

Toughest Tour

Country music crooner Toby Keith, who recently spoke at the National Press Club about how hard it was for people from Hollywood to express support for the troops, is writing a blog about his latest USO music tour.

“The boys and girls were rockin’ and laughin’ like never before,” Mr. Keith blogged about an April 28 show on a Web site hosted by the Department of Defense. “This being my 7th year and 130+ shows, I’ve never seen them as energetic. That being said, the danger factor was at an all-time high. Not since my early trips to Iraq have we been escorted in by gunships as often as we were on this visit. Thank you Cobras and Apaches. Thanks to all our bird teams for the rides.”

Mr. Keith left the United States for what’s being called America’s Toughest Tour 2009 on April 21 for a 17-show, 10-day swing through the Persian Gulf region and Italy.

Transsexual case

Former Army Special Forces officer and transsexual Diane Schroer of Alexandria has been awarded nearly $500,000 in a job dispute with the Library of Congress over a job offered to her before she became a woman.

Ms. Schroer, formerly David Schroer, claimed he was offered a job as terrorism analyst at the Congressional Research Center that was revoked when he told others he was going to have surgery to become a woman.

The Library of Congress and the Justice Department said the government had not committed sex discrimination but lost to Ms. Schroer, who was represented by the American Civil Liberties Union. U.S. District Judge James Robinson ruled Ms. Schroer should receive $491,190 in back pay and damages.

Amanda Carpenter can be reached at acarpenter@ washingtontimes.com

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